While it’s true that all licensed real estate agents need to be affiliated with a brokerage, there’s no rule that stipulates the specifics of that relationship, including how long you should be tied to a broker.
In the same way that a broker wants to make sure you’re a good fit before they let you join the brokerage, or a client wants to make sure you’re right for their needs, you should also do the same, and be prepared to constantly evaluate the benefits of that relationship.
As an agent, you have your own vision and goals, and many times those are aligned with a brokerage, but not in all cases. Those goals may also change, so it’s on you as an agent to determine when it’s time to move on.
The right way to leave
It’s not just enough to watch out for signs that your broker may no longer be aligned with your vision you also need to know when it’s time to leave them and how to do it in the right way. You could do more harm than good, , especially in the long run, if you leave your broker in the wrong way.
Here are some tips on the best ways to end the relationship:
1. You don’t align with your broker
Sometimes, intuition can be a powerful tool. If you get that gut feeling, that tiny inkling of doubt about your broker, then it is time to deeply consider your next move. Ask yourself questions. Can you really handle living with your broker? Are you ready to make a move? Is it really the right decision?
You should also be upfront with your broker and outline the reasons you’re considering a move. Your broker can’t take your interests into consideration if they don’t know what those interests are. And if that still doesn’t make you feel any better above the situations, then it’s time to go.
2. You’re not happy with the financial agreement
Obviously, money and commission split structure play a crucial part for why an agent joins a brokerage. But, it’s not the only thing.
Most real estate agents kick off their work relationship with a broker on a specific financial agreement; however, markets, production team size, and general competition can change, which can result in a need to reevaluate the original financial agreement.
Financial goals are important for a real estate agent and if you feel they’re not being met, it’s time to leave your broker.
3. You don’t see growth opportunity
Being an agent isn’t all about making closing deals and getting commissions. Many agents have goals beyond the sale. Many broker-owners started out as real estate agents and had to grow through a process.
If your broker isn’t giving you enough opportunity for growth (for example, helping with lead generation) then you may have to start considering alternatives.
5. You’re moving
Sometimes, an agent’s decision to find a new broker doesn’t have anything to do with problems within the brokerage — they’re simply moving out of town. Personal situations like this affect an agent too deeply and leave them with little choice but to move.
6. You’re not getting the training you need
Real estate agents — especially those who are relatively new to the field — often don’t want just a place to hang their license. They want a place to learn, as well. A broker’s experience is just as important to a real estate agent as the commission splits. If you still can’t define escrow after a year of working in a brokerage, it may be time to try a different one.
7. There’s a better opportunity elsewhere
New brokerage business models are always emerging, and legacy brands are investing heavily into the agent experience, so you owe it to yourself and your ambition to find a brokerage that works for whatever your needs are right now. For many people, loyalty is key, but for others, it’s about finding the best opportunity.
Whatever you do, don’t leave a trail of destruction
Is it time to leave your brokerage? If the answer is, “Yes,” remember, you should never scorch the earth with a former broker, the same way you should never do it with a client or colleague. First, there’s a human on the other side, and it’s the decent thing to do.
From a business standpoint, you may still work with that broker on transactions. They could be representing a buyer or seller or may even merge with your current broker. If that happens you may be in for some trouble.
Chris Heller serves as the Chief Real Estate Officer at Ojo Labs.